While things have normalized since the open thanks entirely to the SNB's aggressive EUR-buying, CHF-selling intervention (good to see that central banks have read the BIS' report and have learned from their prior intervention mistakes), earlier this morning we got a snapshot of what happens if and when the SNB, and then the ECB itself, finally lose control when as a result of the Greek crisis the contagion promptly spread a few hundred kilometers west to Italy where as the WSJ reported, "several Italian banks failed to start trading on Monday as fears over a Greek debt default induced many investors to shed peripheral stocks, including Italian, with banks suffering the most."
As the paper reported sales orders on Italian stocks, in particular financial stocks, piled up before the market opening. At the start, the sales orders were so numerous that the system couldn't manage to process them, something that often happens when specific news causes a sell-off on a stock.
Theoretical prices for Italian banks--the prices at which they would have started trading--hovered around losses of 8% to 10% at the beginning of the trading session.
UniCredit SpA and Intesa Sanpaolo managed to start trading some time after the market opened, but were suspended immediately, accumulating losses of around 6% compared with Friday's closing prices.
Ironically, in an attempt to avoid just this kind of selling panic, on Sunday, Italy's banking lobby head Antonio Patuelli dismissed fears of contagion on Italian lenders, saying the country's banks' direct exposure to Greece was less than EUR1 billion.
For now the SNB has stabilized things but how much longer will this artificial "stability" continue especially if the just concluded speech by Jean-Claude Juncker managed to antagonize Greeks even further and pushed all those who were on the fence about this Sunday's coming Greferendum, solidly into the "No" camp.